Inuit Artists A Showcase and Celebration of Inuit Artists and their Art

Pitseolak Niviaqsi - Inuit Artist

Pitseolak Niviaqsi

Community: Kinngait (Cape Dorset), Nunavut, Canada
1947- 2015

Pitseolak Niviaqsi, RCA, was a master carver and printmaker from Kinngait (Cape Dorset), NU. Niviaqsi was renowned for his talents as a lithographer, transferring hundreds of drawings into prints at the Kinngait Studios and was credited in nearly every Cape Dorset Annual Print Collection from 1975 to 2011.

Niviaqsi’s works are held in the permanent collections of multiple prominent institutions including the Winnipeg Art Gallery in Winnipeg, MB, the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, ON. In recognition of his work, Niviaqsi was invested as a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

(Information provided by Inuit Art Foundation)

Niviaqsi began his artistic career as a carver selling his sculptures out of the Kinngait Studios. He continued carving after he became an apprentice at the studios though he carved less frequently after 1991. Niviaqsi’s sculptures were sinuous and made effective use of negative space. Birds, caribou, Sedna and mothers with children were frequent subjects for Niviaqsi.


Niviaqsi frequently mentored other artists in lithography techniques. In 1977 he traveled to Ulukhaktok to assist with establishing the lithography program. In 2000 he taught a workshop for Nunavik artists visiting the Kinngait Studios. Niviaqsi occasionally turned his own drawings into prints. His most well known works portray wildlife such as the dynamic Rutting Caribou (2016) and the luminous Sheltered Calf (2016). He enjoyed depicting family relationships in his art including the touching print All Aboard (2016) of a polar bear mother with her cubs and the carving Fisherman With Twins (2001), which appeared on the cover of the Spring 2002 issue of the Inuit Art Quarterly.

(Information provided by Inuit Art Foundation)

“Pitseolak was born to artists Kunu and Niviaksiak both of whom contributed to the early Cape Dorset collections.  He was probably introduced to lithography by his elder brother, Qiatsuq, who started working in the printshop in the early seventies.  Pitseolak’s aunt and uncle are well-known artists, Lucy and Tikituk Qinnuayuak.  He has participated in the lithography program since its inception in the early seventies, initially as an assistant to Pee Mikkigak, his brother, Quiatsuq, and Bob Patterson, who was acting arts advisor at the time.  His name appears on 205 prints in sixteen annual collections, more than half of which are lithographs. In 1977 Pitseolak, Wallace Brannen, then supervisor of the litho shop, and Jimmy Manning, assistant arts advisor, travelled to Holman Island to introduce lithography to the resident printers.” (Jean Blodgett, “In Cape Dorset We Do It This Way”, (Kleinburg, Ontario: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 1991), Page 137.)

Although Pitseolak stopped carving briefly in 1991 to build his own house, he quickly resumed the art and has continued to develop as a versatile, prolific and talented artist.  His sculpture is often relatively large in size, highly polished and displays flowing forms and exquisite detail.  His subject matter ranges from fanciful birds to sensitive portrayals of a mother with her children. (Information provided by Dorset Fine Arts.)

Available Work

Pitseolak Niviaqsi - Inuit Art Gallery - A Celebration of this Inuit Artist's Work

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